07 June, 2018

Record $150m Pre-Sale Estimate for a Painting

A new record has been set as a nude painting by Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani received a $150m pre-sale estimate before it hit the auction room in New York.

This estimate is $50m more than the 'Salvator Mundi' which became the world's most expensive painting after it was sold in November 2017. Although, it has received a fair amount of controversy over its provenance. 

Trivia - The previous record for a pre-sale estimate was $140m for Pablo Picasso's "Les femmes d'Alger (version O)" in 2015.

The painting 'Nu couché ( sur le côté gauche)'  which translates to 'lying naked on the left-side' shows a naked woman on her left side looking back on an audience. It's one of only 9 nudes by the Italian artist which are in private hands. This further illustrates how rare these paintings are and thus, their high estimates. 

Trivia - The last nude painting by Modigliani's was sold for $170.4 million at auction in New York to a Chinese collector in 2015.

The Unveiling

The painting was unveiled in Hong Kong which has seen a heavy influx of bidders who are setting new records in the areas of Art, Jewellery, Ceramics and more. 

The painting attracted strong attention thanks to its high estimate and also the fact that out of the 22 nude paintings by Modigliani, only 9 are in private hands. The rest can be found in museums around the USA.

The painting also boasts being the largest of all. Measuring at 147-centimetre-wide (58 inches), the oil painting is the only one to show the entire body of a female on a canvas.

Trivia - When the painting was first exhibited in 1917, it caused such a commotion that the police were called. The gallerist was accused of public indecency.

Final Words

Using Hong Kong as the choice for the unveiling and also being the highlight of a recent Tate Modern exhibition - they had no doubt helped the painting to exceed its estimate.

The painting sold for $157m and confirmed the growing interest in the artist's work and also art in general as New York has seen over $1bn worth of art sold in the past month.

One of the standout auctions came from the Rockefeller family who auctioned off over 1,500 lots. You can read more about it in our article 'Massive $800m Art Auction of Rockefeller Art ' here.

We kept the best part of this sale until last. This nude Modigliani sale will net the current owner John Magnier a massive profit because he bought the painting for $26.9m in 2003.

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The $150m Nude Painting